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Iowa Supreme Court Ruling Has Major Impact on Juvenile Sentencing

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Des Moines capitol buildings

Iowa Judicial Branch Building, which houses the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa – A ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court says juveniles must be resentenced if they were given mandatory minimum sentences.

It means that dozens of people will be resentenced for crimes like sexual abuse, robbery and murder.

Three of the justices dissented.

The ruling came as the court was deciding the appeal of Andre Lyle Jr. He was sentenced to ten years in prison after he and a friend punched a person and stole a $5 bag of marijuana outside of a Des Moines high school. He was 17 at the time of his conviction.

The court said the mandatory minimum sentences for juveniles are cruel and unusual punishment, making them unconstitutional.

The decision comes after a 2012 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that stated a mandatory life-without-parole sentence is unconstitutional for children under the age of 17.


  • Dan

    10 years for one punch? A $ 5.00 bag of pot? Wow that Judge must haver really liked that pothead. Where’s the rest of that story?

    • Paul

      Sentence had nothing to do with the judge’s likes or dislikes. The legislature wrote the law to require the judge to send the criminal to prison for that particular crime.

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